Blog #13: The 5 Biggest Mistakes I Made My First Month Blogging

Hi friends! If you are new, welcome! If you've been following my journey, then you know I am a blogging newbie. It has been almost 2 months since I started this (my first) blog, and I have learned A LOT! In the learning process, I have made many mistakes; that is what this post is about- what NOT to do! Take it from me, if you avoid these 5 mistakes, you're blogging goals will be met with a lot less stress and frustration

Mistake #1: Perfectionism

I am a perfectionist, in every aspect of my life. Perfectionism is the enemy of progress in the blogging world. I literally spent 45 minutes one time trying to adjust a group of pictures to make them all symmetrical, and the same size. In the end, you probably couldn't even tell the difference from before I started! I asked my husband to take a look during the process, and of course he answered "looks great", while I was pulling my hair out because I thought they looked terrible and uneven!


The point is, people don't care as much as you do about the little details. That 45 minutes could have been used a lot more productively and effectively. It was completely stressful and completly unnecessary. That is just one example of the many times that my need for things to be perfect got in the way of my blogging goals. Rather than creating new content, or promoting my new posts, I was obsessing over every minute detail, that really didn't make a difference in the grand scheme of things. I'm not saying things don't need to look good, I think aesthetics are extremely important in engaging your audience, I'm just saying give yourself a break. Don't obsess about every aspect being perfect. It will save you a lot of time, energy, and stress!

Mistake #2: Not understanding the technical aspects enough- SEO, bandwidth, etc...

I consider myself pretty technically savvy, I was raised by 2 IT professionals (my mom and step-dad) who both have masters in Information Technology. I have had some form of a computer since I was very young; But even still, I had a lot to learn about the technical aspects of the blogging world. I figured I could easily make a website and promote it- no problem! I was wrong! I had to learn a whole new blogging language, and teach myself the best ways to gain traffic and followers. That's when I first heard the term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and had to compare various website builders and see which ones got the most eyes on my page.

It was a lot! I also figured I had social media down pat, until I learned about various algorithms on different social media platforms. Most recently, I learned about bandwidth on the site builder that I use for my blog (Webnode). As I posted more and more, I kept getting warnings about getting close to using my free 1GB of bandwidth. I stressed about this, thinking I had only 1GB total to use for free. So I hurried and bought a domain (another technical feat I had to educate myself on) only to find I got a gig monthly!

So my warning to you is be prepared! Learn as much as you can before you start a blog. If you are a tech wiz, then more power to you! If you're not, do your research. Learn everything that goes into the technical side of making a blog to give yourself the best chance at success!

Mistake #3: Not managing my expectations

I don't have the most self confidence, I actually have a lot of insecurities, but I had some expectations for my blog; Some were met or even exceeded and some fell very short. I knew it would take time to build a following, but it's every bloggers dream to reach as many people as possible. When I first launched my blog, I was pretty happy with the amount of daily visitors I received, and it kept growing day after day. I was so happy to hit higher numbers, and was excited to check my stats daily. Then I got sick. Being 6 months pregnant is not always easy, and I was down (physically) for a good week. There was one day I couldn't even get out of bed, let alone post or promote my blog. So it suffered.


Once I got better, I checked my numbers and they were down- A LOT. I thought, "okay, that's normal, no big deal, they will come back up". Well the truth is, they haven't. I am no where near where I was in the beginning, and I have been trying everything to gain traffic and get back to where I was. My expectations were that I would have a continually rising number of visitors to my site, and it would just grow and grow. I didn't think it would happen overnight, but I did think it would happen. But life happens, and reality has a way of smashing and preconceived expectations you may have set.

I should have been more realistic about my goals before I even launched my blog. If you manage your expectations ahead of time, there is less room for disappointment. Don't beat yourself up if you aren't hitting the numbers you'd like. Be easy on yourself and believe that you will meet your goals, even if it takes longer than expected to do so!

Mistake #4: Getting traffic- the wrong way

I have found that the #1 aspiration of new bloggers is getting and maintaining traffic. I have researched extensively how to do so myself. I can tell you that, personally, I have gone about it in all the wrong ways. There are the usual methods we all try, (i.e. social media, sharing with anyone and everyone we can, etc..) and some work, while others- not so much.


The biggest way I have tried to gain more visitors has been leveraging the social media accounts I have already established over the years. I changed the titles of my Pinterest from my name to 'Don't Judge Me', and made a Facebook page. I have also created all new accounts on Snapchat (@DontJudgeMeBlog), Instagram and Twitter. (Shameless social plug here lol). It has worked, for the most part, but not as much as I had hoped. Again, realistically, one month is not enough time to get a million followers, but I often find myself comparing my blogs to other, more successful ones, and end up feeling inadequate or less than. DON'T DO THAT TO YOURSELF! Don't compare your success to that of another blogger or influencer. You're on your own path, and your success will look different than that of someone else... You're doing amazing sweetie!



In my extensive research, I found the top ways to gain traffic, and they are:

-Email Blasting/ Lists (ex MailChimp)

-Social Media

-Keywords and SEO

See this SEO infographic by Brian Dean

I can't really tell you personally how I have gained a huge following, but I can tell you how NOT to! I mean, I guess I can talk about what worked initially, and that was sharing with the people closest to you first. I have over 900 friends on my personal Facebook account, and I shared my blog there first. When you are just starting out, most times friends and family will support you. I read an article talking about this, and it said that most bloggers start out with tons of positive feedback from friends and loved ones, but eventually hit a plateau. That definitely happened to me, and it is something I am currently working on. If you want to help please share this post, or any others, with as many people as you can! I would be eternally grateful!

Mistake #5: Letting fear and self doubt get in the way

I remember how scared I was before I pushed that button to officially launch my blog. I read and re-read every word I typed, checked to see how it looked across all of my devices, and begged my husband to give me the encouragement I needed. It's a scary thing to put yourself out there for the world to see and judge! But after I did it, it was like a rush of emotions; I was excited, scared, relieved, anxious and about a million other things. It did feel like a weight was lifted, but I felt all those emotions again and again. Like before I posted a new blog, or before I shared a post on social media. I still feel a little nervous about my content being too this or not enough that.

It kept me from fully reaching my blogging potential. 2 months in, I can say that I am more comfortable now with sharing my content. I also have more confidence in my work. Confidence is key to reaching people and making genuine connections. If I write that I have no idea what I'm doing or that I'm so bad at blogging, (which may or may not be true) I don't think many people would want to read anything from me. But if you 'fake it til you make it' so to speak, people will trust you more and want to keep following your progress.



I'm still working on it, but now I feel a lot less self-conscious about my writing style or subject matter. I have to believe in myself for others to believe in me. Don't let fear, self-doubt or insecurity get in the way! I know that can be easier said than done, but I can tell you first hand that once I let those negative feelings go, I felt better about my blog and myself in general.

Conclusion

All in all it's been a whirlwind! These two months have taught me so much about blogging and about myself. I have had many ups and downs, and have learned so much. I went from the high of launching my first blog, to the lows of insecurity about my content, to the highs of gaining traffic, and back down when I lost that traffic and momentum. If you can gain any insight from this post, then it will all be worth it! I know that as stressful or nerve-wracking as its been, I've truly loved the process.

My favorite part has definitely been the feedback I've received. When I get messages from loved ones or even strangers saying they loved my post, or can relate to something I talked about, it really touches my heart. I can't believe that people connect with things I've gone through or topics I've written about, but I am grateful. Grateful that I can reach people, grateful that my past can now help people, and grateful that I started this journey in the first place!

So please, let me know what you think- about this post, about my blog, about me! When I ask people that (a million times it seems) I genuinely want to know what you they think. What have you struggled with on your blogging journey? What mistakes have you made, and more importantly, what lessons have you learned along the way? Let me know in the comments below! Subscribe if you want to see more from me. Share if you feel like this post could help other new bloggers!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. It means the world to me!

Love always,

Veronica

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